Category Archives: yearly roundup

2017: A New Hope…more updates, and a no-shopping challenge.

14878879-broken-piggy-bank-filled-with-loose-change-stock-photo
SO! 2016 blogging was kind of a bust. I mean UGH, I blogged twice! February and May. That’s it! PATHETIC!
What is also embarrassingly pathetic is that credit card debt got a bit out of control with some unexpected summer expenses, and then I just had the mentality of “f**k it, whatever!” as far as budgeting goes. I guess after finally getting the house and paying for the wedding, and even getting the student loan situation manageable, I fell in the trap of “it’s okay, you deserve it!” Life has been very stressful. Retail therapy!
As of today, my CC debt is up to $3,879.76. (Where’s the throw-up emoji?) It pains me to write that in a blog post (which is probably why I have not blogged, which is probably MORE REASON to blog).
Less pathetic:
My student loan balance as of January 1, 2017 is $52,736.20. WOW! That’s 44.5% paid off since the birth of this blog!
This is especially exciting because I visited my parents over Christmas vacation and when I helped clean out my old childhood bedroom, I found old student loan statements back when I consolidated all of them (back in late 2006 and early 2007–a decade ago). My totals back then were about $97,000-ish. When I started this blog in September 2013, they were only down to $95,000-ish–a measley $2k paid off in 7 years. In early 2015, when I was looking at starting this current job, I wanted student loan debt payoff to be part of my salary package, and it was down to $71,000-ish (almost $24k paid off in the 2+ years since the blog of the birth). I had been aggressively throwing all my extra income at the mountain of debt, we’re talking about an extra $1,500 per month, and one time even threw in over $5,000 of my Christmas bonus (which is a ridiculously large Christmas bonus).
Now another 2 years later, and it’s another $18.5k down with just paying the minimum payment each month. I’m not having to throw in big extra payments like I used to, and I’m still on track to pay everything off by February or March of 2020.
Good job and pat on the back for the student loans part!
Horrible job on the credit card debt!
The two things I will focus on in 2017 for this finance blog will be:
1. Go back to blogging a monthly update on the state of affairs (student loans and credit card debt). ACCOUNTABILITY!
2. Implement a NO SHOPPING CHALLENGE for all non-essential items. I have a small stack of gift cards, so if I get the urge to buy something, I will consult the gift card stash.
Maybe in the next post I’ll go on a little soapbox about how budgeting is like being on a diet, and my twisted and sordid relationship with budgeting calories, in the meantime, happy new year to my faithful readers! (If anyone is still out there…say hi.)

No-Spend February! ?!

So I’m pretty sure there was not a new year’s “Happy 2016! this is all the amazing things I’m going to do this year!” blog post yet.

I missed the January/new year’s update, and here we are in February already.

My latest student loan balance today was $66,872.99 which believe it or not, is practically 30% (29.63% to be exact) down from the original balance at the birth of this blog. $28,153.88 paid off in less than 2.5 years. !

Holy crap. That’s kind of incredible to me, from how stagnant that balance had been at $95k for the 7 years between grad school graduation to the start of this blog. And that we paid for both a wedding and new house last year!

Today I deleted the Amazon app off of my iPhone. We had a lot of expenses over the holidays and I got into the habit of buying too many things off Amazon. I’m pretty sure I don’t really need anything else, so I’m going to try some version of a “No Spend February”. No spending on things I want, but don’t really need. (Running race entry fees are ok!)

I’ve got to revisit our budgets again.

Next month is my 1-year anniversary at work and the first employer-paid chunk of student loan repayment. Oooooooh.

2016 will continue our adventures as homeowners (saving up $8500 for The Roof Fund and paying off the furniture we got a 12-month deal on). At some point I’ll have to tackle the taxes too…which will be interesting doing them as a newly married entity (filing jointly?) since we both worked in two different states last year, got married, AND bought a house.
What’s in store for your 2016?

HAPPY NEW YEAR (in review)! 2014 = 25% down!

quarter down

Happy new year! WOOHOO, 2015! What’s that picture? It’s a quarter on the floor. It’s ONE QUARTER DOWN! Get it? I have paid down 25.07% of my original amount of student loans since the birth of this blog. When I hit 50%, I can post up a picture of TWO QUARTERS! 😀

So I haven’t done my December 2014 review yet, but in the spirit of the new year, I was already jonesin’ to do a “year in review”. Can I combine them? Is that allowed? Basically, I kept to my modified plan of just paying the minimum on the student loans while stockpiling some extra money if the bonus didn’t come through. (Which it still didn’t. There may be hope to see it in mid-January, but I won’t hold my breath and that way I’ll be pee-in-the-pants excited IF it does actually come through.) So my debt only went down by $329.34 in December, and $227.80 went to interest.

My new grand total, however, is $71,203.19, which is $15,577.70 LESS than what it was at the beginning of 2014 ($86,780.89). YAY! $71k is so much less than almost $87k! More importantly, it’s 25.07% down from the original amount of $95,026.87. YAY! And 25% is much more than the 8.7% from a year ago. YAY!

Now, reviewing my goals from my “2013 in review”, how did I do?

  • blog here 4x/month or 1x/week
    • PASS! 48 total (published) entries for 2014.
  • get under $60,000 in student loan debt by January 1, 2015 (pay off $27k)
    • FAIL! and…ha! Really? I missed it by $11k. 😦
  • set up a wedding fund together with Mr. Bacon and save $5k
    • PASS-ish… Set up the account and only $1200 is in it.
  • get a raise, or get the bosses to pay for some of the student loans
    • PASS! 10% raise in February that was retroactive to the beginning of the year
  • set up triathlon and travel budgets and stick to them!
    • NOPE… It didn’t get too out of control, but I definitely did more racing than I had originally planned.

Major milestones in 2014…

Financial setbacks in 2014:

  • HUGE UGLY TAXES…
  • Moving expenses (security deposit, cancelling gym memberships and the Dish Network…)
  • New car

Financial Amazeballs in 2014:

  • Getting a raise (despite the frustrations of the new position, it’s still more money)
  • Moving to a cheaper place (saving over $300/month in parking!)
  • A gigantic mid-year bonus in September!

So overall, despite only making minimum student loan payments for three of the 12 months, I still managed to pay off an average of almost $1,300 per month ($1,298.14). If you take out those 3 small months, though, my average jumps all the way up to $1,656.24. HOLY CRAP!

Ok then…so now that only leaves us with 2015 FINANCIAL GOALS:

  • Save up $5,000 for the wedding, have a successful wedding for not much more than that!
  • Pay off the remaining $2,100 for the new bike
  • Stay credit card debt-free (still accrue airline miles on the CC, but pay off the balance each month)
  • Keep blogging 4x per month!
  • Save up $15,000 in the house fund! ($1,500/month)
  • Move towards a better work situation (whether it’s stress, finances, and/or location)
  • Get the loans under $65k (still pay the minimum, and then some)

Happy new year everybody! I am enjoying reading everybody’s yearly round-ups, and wishing you all a prosperous 2015. 🙂

2013 in Review, 2014 will CRUSH IT!

Hello, January! (Again.) I was so proud of myself for all the blogging I did last month–a whopping 6 posts. Then again, there was the Christmas holiday and the snow day. I know there are awesome bloggers out there who do at least 3 posts per week (and I once had a triathlon blog I posted to every single day) but for as busy as my work schedule’s been, averaging one post per week would be a pretty darn good goal.

Well, before January is completely over (is it already half over?!) I better do my 2013 in review and put my 2014 finance goals out there!

So on New Year’s day of 2013, I moved to DC and lived in a hotel (paid by work) for a few days before my new apartment was available. I started my new job on the 2nd, which was about a $12k raise from my previous job (although it’s kind of the same after you take into consideration the much higher cost of living and taxes here, grrrrg). My previous savings account was depleted from buying new furniture as I didn’t have any of my own.

In May, Mr. Bacon and I went from having a long-distance relationship (about 100 miles) with the associated expenses (road trips and travel on the weekends) to moving in together (he came to me! aww!) and learning to live together, budget together and split up expenses and share a small space (600 square feet!). We quickly learned to cut down on happy hours and dinners out (in our expensive frou-frou neighborhood where there are 5 bars and restaurants on every corner).

January through September, I really worked on paying off my credit card debt. I reached my goal before Labor Day in September! That journey was chronicled in an old blog hosted on a different website. In September, this blog was born when it was time to focus all my financial energy on the battle against Sallie Mae.

In bullet-point summary, huge things that happened:

  • Moved to DC and started a new job
  • mid-year Mr. Bacon moved to DC with me (LDR to living together)
  • paid off my credit card debt: $10,777 to zero by September!
  • started hacking at the student loans and paid off $8,247 (Sept-Dec)

What helped with paying off debts:

  • BLOGGING. Even once a month gave me a huge sense of accountability
  • Telling friends and family members…even if they felt uncomfortable talking about it, I didn’t.
  • Saying no to movies, trips, eating out, racing, and even haircuts.

2014 goals:

  • blog here 4x/month or 1x/week
  • get under $60,000 in student loan debt by January 1, 2015 (pay off $27k)
  • set up a wedding fund together with Mr. Bacon and save $5k
  • get a raise, or get the bosses to pay for some of the student loans
  • set up triathlon and travel budgets and stick to them!

That’s all! How are your 2014 goals coming along just two weeks in?